Enhancing Internet access in rural Strathcona County

January 18, 2016

Enhancing Internet access in rural Strathcona County

Rural residents will soon have better access to the online world thanks to Strathcona County’s innovative Rural Internet Access Program. Through the program, the County provides incentives to local Internet service providers (ISPs) for the installation of approximately 100 new Internet towers, boosting signal reach in areas where Internet access is unsatisfactory.

“Reliable home Internet access is increasingly important for everyday life, whether it’s for school, business, entertainment or simply connecting with others,” says Mayor Roxanne Carr. “The County’s investment in rural Internet access contributes to our vision of being Canada’s most livable community, and that means helping residents stay connected at all times.”

With the design and consultation phase complete, applications for approval have been submitted for the first new Internet towers, which will be going up in the rural subdivisions of Wye Knott Village and Wildwood Village. ISPs are also currently working with potential tower hosts in the designated high-priority areas of: McConnell Estates, Lueders Ridge, Jaymoor Estates, Richlyn Estates, Mark IV Estates, Colonial Estates and Royal Estates. Over the next two years, ISPs will continue to add new towers in priority areas identified by the County. “The County is working closely with ISPs to bring Internet to the highest number of residents, as quickly as possible,” says the Mayor.

As part of the program, the County has also partnered with Strathcona County Library to install Internet towers at a number of rural community halls, better equipping these facilities to host a variety of programming and events. This is being made possible through the Library’s Bookmobile sponsor, Shell Canada Ltd.

“Improved Internet access at community halls will greatly enhance the library experience for our rural patrons,” says Anna Pandos, Chair, Strathcona County Library. “They will be able to enjoy the full suite of digital literacy training, resources and programming, and also get real-time access to their library accounts and digital resources at Bookmobile stops.”

Citizens are invited to drop by open house sessions to find out more about the Rural Internet Access Program, and what it could mean for their area. ISP representatives will be on hand to speak of their plans for tower installs. The first open house events are planned for Thursday, January 28 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Strathcona Olympiette Centre and Tuesday, February 2 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ardrossan Recreation Complex. Additional sessions will occur throughout the year.

For more information about the program, or to report a rural area where Internet access is unsatisfactory.

You may also email ruralinternet@strathcona.ca, or call 780-464-8024.

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of almost 96,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

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Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595